The European protein transition: a threat or an opportunity?

Trade fairs such as Anuga are usually good places to hear about new food developments. This year, there was much talk about the future of legumes and protein crops, including demand from local European growers and initiatives.

CBI presented the trends for grains, pulses and oilseeds at Anuga 2019. The presentation covered, among other things, Europe’s protein transition. The European Union is providing stimulus to the cultivation of protein crops through different initiatives to support farmers, including Protein2Food and the Common Agricultural Policy. The Protein2Food initiative, for example, aims to improve the production quality and volume of a selection of special protein crops: quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, lupin, fava bean, chickpea and lentils.

In different European countries, one can find more and more cultivation projects of soybean, quinoa and even chia seeds. These progressive activities answer to the growing consumer preference for local sourcing, especially for organic protein ingredients.

Focus on local production

You can consider Europe’s focus on local production to be a threat, but it may also turn into an opportunity. First of all, European domestic production will never be enough to meet Europe’s own demand for protein ingredients. Second, the increasing attention that local growers will create for these ingredients in Europe will result in even more consumption and demand, which will also consequently have a positive impact on the demand for imported legumes and other protein ingredients.

Innova Market Insights pointed out at Anuga that plant-based meat alternatives could grow worldwide by more than 25% a year to reach US$85 billion by 2030 and that the market value for legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils and beans is expected to reach US$75.8 billion by 2025, which is more than double than in 2017.

If you missed our presentation at Anuga, you can find more about the trends in grains, pulses and oilseeds on the CBI website.

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This news item has been written for CBI by ICI Business.

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